Sunday, February 23, 2014

Inching Forward

Speaking of obstacles to happiness....

I wish I had a job where I could work strictly thirty two hours per week.  Arrive at 8:30 and leave right at 5, four days a week.  Not have to think about work at all when I leave.  No calls after hours.  No work on weekends.  Great job security. Oh, and the job pays the same as I make today.

Think of all the other things I could do in my life.  But this is just a dream, I don't think this job exists.

Another blogger titled his blog "Corporate Slave."  That sums up how an awful lot of people feel.   I don't feel that way.  I am fortunate to have the job I do.  I am thankful for that, especially when I look around at other people.  I look at the guy in the cell phone store making $12/hr, living paycheck to paycheck, and an elusive "promotion" being dangled as motivation, as a corporate slave.

Debt and financial obligations can make you a slave too.

Could I quit my job and transition to fewer hours and less stress?  Perhaps yes, but it would be a serious pay cut.  I choose not to do that.  I just could not bring myself to do that.  And I don't think I need to.

Sometimes I run into people who have checked out of the rat race and opted for a different life track.  It's a sacrifice, but sometimes the corporate life is so stressful and unpleasant people just do it.  It's not very common.  I know a ton of corporate people.  None are super happy with their jobs.  But almost none do anything about it.

This has been a cold winter.  Who wants to get home after 7 and then think about going out again into the sub-zero blackness?

Where am I going with this?  When I map out my week there is limited time to do other things.  This is a long standing problem for me.  One major change this year is that my kids are becoming adults and I will have more freedom.   

I am also handling work better.  Over the last few months I've adopted a strategy of minimizing contact with certain people at work, including my dotted line boss, and it seems to be working.  I am saying no to additional projects.  The distribution of work and resources is not fair.  I WILL take all my vacation this year.

The problem with people like me is that we are fundamentally comfortable.  Life is not perfect, but it's pretty comfortable.  There's no screaming need to make a change.  Inertia can set in and there's no action to make things better.

Sometimes the best way to achieve big changes is to start with a series of small changes.


  1. Thanks for the shout out. Your life sounds a lot like my life before I was laid off and became a contract worker for IT outsourcing firm. Some of the employees of the company I’m contracted to have the same life you do. They work eighty hours a week, work on weekends and rarely take vacations. They are burned out but don’t work less because they fear getting laid off. It’s an endless vicious cycle. I wish you luck with your new plan.

    1. What you're describing sounds horrible, and it's not my life. I am not working 80 hours per week. Maybe 55 to 60 many weeks. I did take two one week vacations last year. I like what I do. I've seen situations like what you've described. Many of those people have high overhead as well, and they can't afford to quit.

  2. "Sometimes the best way to achieve big changes is to start with a series of small changes."

    I can't begin to tell you how that last statement hit me.

    I have a tendency to get overwhelmed by large projects or goals. Recently I've started to break things down into smaller, more manageable tasks. So far, so good.

    I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one. :-)


  3. Keep it simple.

    Work to live. Not the other way around.